Monday, July 12, 2010

Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bites

When I told one friend the name of these delectable little morsels, her response was "You just said too many of my favorite words in the name...now I have to try one!" And I must say, it's a good thing these are mini and bite-sized (and therefor theoretically have built-in portion control), because they are rich and oh-so-tasty! But they're very easy to make (I made them on a whim, and I already had all the ingredients on hand!). They do take some time, since there are three separate layers, and each one needs to cool and set, but the hands-on time is not too bad.

Using part whole wheat in the crust gives them a nice nutty taste...it almost reminded me of graham crackers. The original recipe calls for baking these in a 9x13 and cutting into squares, but that's a real pain because caramel squishes out all over, so I adapted these to be in self-contained shortbread crust cups. I think next time, the crust could use a splash of vanilla, and the caramel could use a hefty splash of bourbon!

Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bites (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

  • 1 1/3 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbl. light corn syrup
  • 3/4 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/4 c. milk chocolate chips

Cream together 1 1/3 c. butter and white sugar. Add splash of vanilla if desired. Mix in the flours until dough forms (it may be crumbly). Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then press into the bottom and up the sides of a mini muffin pan. Bake 20 min at 350 degrees F. Put in freezer to cool while you make the caramel.

In a large saucepan, combine 3/4 c. butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When it starts to boil, stop stirring, and let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and beat vigorously with the wooden spoon for 3 minutes.

Remove shortbread crusts from the freezer (they should be cool by now). Spoon some caramel into each crust, filling it nearly to the top. Refrigerate for a half hour or so, until caramel begins to firm up.

Melt chocolate in the microwave. Spoon or pipe a little over the top of each shortbread cup so that it covers and seals in the caramel. Refrigerate again until chocolate is firm. Enjoy! I got about 44 out of this recipe.

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